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Turbines ‘sales pitch’ claim

Campaigners in the Mearns have described a seminar for councillors on the region’s wind farm gold rush as “a 10 minute sales pitch.”

Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) is a group of Aberdeenshire residents who are concerned about the rapid proliferation of wind turbines in the region.

A public demonstration has been organised to coincide with the wind farm seminar on Monday which is not open to the public.

Planning permission has been approved or is currently pending for 110 wind turbines in the Mearns with more than 800 at various stages of planning across Aberdeen-shire.

Pressure group Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) is cataloguing all developments and has warned the gold rush will continue because in Aberdeenshire turbines are permitted 400m from the nearest residence – yet in Fife it is 2km.

There is increasing opposition to the form of green energy in Courier country, with critics claiming that they are inefficient, expensive and a blight on the landscape.

Monday’s ‘training seminar on wind farms is one of a series of seminars on various topics which has been arranged for elected members as part of the continuous professional development which they are required to complete.

It is a seminar for all 68 councillors and does not relate to any committee.

The seminar will explore the reasons for the upturn in demand for turbines, the current methods of assessing applications.

Organisers say the protest is against Aberdeenshire’s wind energy planning policies and the apparent cavalier attitude of some councillors in approving inappropriate proposals are unacceptable.

A spokesman for CAWT said: “CAWT has seen a copy of the agenda for this seminar.

“One of the presenters at the seminar is Tom Mckay from Enviko, a wind energy developer.

“You will note that there is nobody to put forward the negative points regarding wind energy, nor to raise concerns regarding the entire planning process in Aberdeenshire with regard to wind turbines, nor to voice worries that some councillors appear to be ignoring objections from expert statutory consultees such as NATS and the MOD.

“It would seem that the wind industry is getting a 10-minute sales pitch to Aberdeenshire Council, but residents are not afforded an opportunity to voice their concerns.

“Two Aberdeenshire councillors own commercial wind turbines (Councillors Chapman and Howie) and another (Councillor Storr) works for a wind energy development company (Green Cat Renewables).

“The seminar, as far as CAWT is aware, is not open to the public or press, nor are we aware that any minutes will be publicly available afterwards.”

The agenda states that members, views will be sought, through the voting system, on potential ways forward to improve the speed of processing applications and achieving consistent recommendations.

Views will also be sought on the value of further research with Scottish National Heritage on moving towards map based policies and away from criteria based policies.